The ‘Ally McBeal’ Affect

Dystopian television isn’t always about an ‘undesirable or frightening ’society; sometimes its harmless and disarming.

Take the TV show, ‘Ally McBeal,’ which aired in the late 90s and early 2000’s. Panned by some for it’s depiction of women working in a professional environment because of their ‘flightiness’ and short-short skirts, while others applauded the series edgy social advancements like the ‘unisex’ bathroom.

Chicago Tribune’s Don Babwin wrote in June 1998: “So now maybe you’re thinking that it’s going to be that way when you get older and go to work.”

“Relax. The creators of the show made it up,” he added. “We talked to some real law firms in Chicago about “unisex” bathrooms. Not only were we unable to find any like the one on “Ally McBeal,” but it doesn’t look like there will be any for a long time.”

After 17 years that ‘long time’ is now as the White House has installed its first ‘gender-neutral’ restroom.

Spokesman Jeff Tiller said the “all-gender restroom” is in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building:  “The White House allows staff and guests to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity, which is in keeping with the administration’s existing legal guidance on this issue and consistent with what is required by the executive order that took effect for federal contractors.”

Obama has taken a stand on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights since 2012. Last year, in a presidential first, Obama used the word “transgender” in the annual State of the Union address while endorsing same-sex marriage.

In April, he issued an executive order barring companies that do business with the federal government from discriminating against LGBT staff. Obama is also the first president to endorse same-sex marriage, addressing the ‘struggles’ of the gay community in a speech in Selma, Alabama during the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement.

During the speech, he made comparisons to the Stonewall riots of 1969 and demonstrations in San Francisco after the 1978 assassination of city supervisor Harvey Milk.

“We’re the gay Americans whose blood ran in the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge,” Obama stated.

It’s not hard to imagine that some poor guy will unthinkingly leave a toilet seat up in one of these ‘unisex’ bathrooms’ and he’ll be slapped with a sexual harassment suit because he created “a hostile or offensive work environment…”


Published by

Tom Darby

Former radio personality and newspaper reporter

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